Your Source for Daily Outdoor Inspiration
Heart for Outdoor uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more

The 10 Best Recreational Kayaks in 2022

Last updated May 24, 2022| Gear

There is a kayak for every type of water, be it a calm lake or a fast-flowing river. Paddlers can choose from various kayaks from different brands for their next watersports adventure. These kayak types range from affordable inflatable sit-on-top kayaks to expensive hardshell kayaks with many fancy accessories.

Recreational kayaks are designed for casual paddlers and beginners with limited paddling skills who can maneuver them in slow-moving flatwater and lakes with a few minutes of coaching. The best recreational kayaks provide ultimate versatility and, with minor modifications, can combine paddling activities with outdoor watersports like angling or fly fishing.

The 10 Best Recreational Kayaks in 2022

Our buyers’ guide for the best recreational kayaks for 2022 buyers includes the top kayaks in each category suitable for exploring sheltered bays, slow-moving rivers, and thick mangroves. We have included the specs and online purchase links for each kayak.

The 10 Best Recreational Kayaks in 2022

#1. ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

41Cg7zs0ZrL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Category: Best Inflatable Kayak
  • Brand: ADVANCED ELEMENTS
  • Type: Inflatable Kayak
  • Material: Rip-Stop Polyester/PVC Tarpaulin
  • Weight: 16.3 kg (36 pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 136 kg (300 pounds)

The  ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvanceFrame inflatable kayak makes you feel ready to take on any adventure. It combines the stability of a hardshell with the versatility and convenience of an inflatable kayak in a hybrid design considered by paddlers as one of the best recreational kayaks in 2022 and the best inflatable kayak. The AdvancedFrame kayak is available in a single paddler or tandem version. A folding frame allows vertical stacking, and integrated aluminum ribs in the bow and stern improve tracking and stability.

The AdvancedFrame kayak cuts aggressively through the water and uses heavy-duty materials with seven separate air chambers protecting the hull from puncture, which provides paddlers with peace of mind. Inflating the AdvanceFrame kayak is a breeze; it takes just a few minutes to unpack and launch, freeing up more paddling time for you and your friends. And when done, you can quickly deflate and fold your AdvancedFrame Inflatable kayak in its carry-on bag.

Product highlights:

  • Supportive, adjustable padded seat with backrest.
  • Factory assembled design, making it easy to unpack and inflate.
  • Generous stow space for personal items with bungee tie-downs.
  • Rubber-carrying handles.

$521.79

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Last update: 12 hours ago

#2. Perception Carolina 12

31OyrdLc8gL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Category: Best Sit Inside Recreational Kayak
  • Brand: Perception Kayaks
  • Type: Inflatable Kayak
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Weight: 22.2 kg (49 pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 125 kg (275 pounds)

Transition from calm lakes to fast-moving rivers and coastal waterways with the Perception Carolina-12 Sit-Inside hardshell recreational kayak. Considered the best Sit-Inside kayak by pros and newbies, the Carolina-12 is a crossover kayak built for recreational and extreme kayaking excursions and sports an ergonomic cockpit layout designed to optimize the paddler’s physical comfort. The Carolina-12’s excellent stability and maneuverability in the water help beginners stay out of trouble, and its lightweight design alloys easy transportation. Two large dry storage compartments can hold several days’ supplies, including tents and sleeping bags with bungee rigging to tie down more prominent items.

Product highlights:

  • Adjustable Zone DLX Seat with padding, backrest, six-way tilt-adjust controls, backrest, and padding.
  • A spacious cockpit with leg padding, thigh pads, and zone knee provides support and comfort.
  • Side handles allow easy entry and exit.
  • Unmatched multi-water capability.
  • Aft and front storage hatches with latched lids.

$1,132.90 $1,205.22

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
-6%
Last update: 12 hours ago

#3. Perception Tribe 9.5

31ffBCPgiNL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Category: Best Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
  • Brand: Perception Kayaks
  • Type: Hard Shell Kayak
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Weight: 20.8 kg (46 pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 136 kg (300 pounds)

Less is more is the mantra behind the Perception Tribe 9.5 recreational kayak’s spartan design. The sit-on-top kayak offers basic comforts to achieve practicality and incredible performance, making it the best sit-on-top recreational kayak in its category. The Perception Tribe 9.5 recreational kayak has a lightweight, high polyethylene construction with a rounded hull for extra durability when paddling in Class II rapids. Inside the Perception Tribe, 9.5 kayak cockpit is an adjustable seat with ventilated ergonomic padding and a pair of deck wells with cord fasteners.

Product highlights:

  • Footrest with multiple comfort settings.
  • Molded-in cockpit drink holders.
  • Durable side handles, toggle bow, and stern handles for convenient transporting.
  • Scupper holes to drain water.

$664.01 $679.00

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
-2%
Last update: 12 hours ago

#4. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two

- Heart for Outdoor
  • Category: Best Tandem Recreational Kayak
  • Brand: Ocean Kayak
  • Type: Hard Shell Kayak
  • Material: Single Layer Polyethylene
  • Weight: 25.8 kg (57 pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 164.2 kg (362 pounds)

Enjoy increased versatility and value with the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two tandem sit-on-top recreational kayak designed for fun-filled family adventures with enough space for a small pet. The Malibu Two offers a lightweight design optimized for your convenience with two Comfort Plus seats featuring slip prevention and overlapping foot wells providing adequate nestling room for the center paddler. Paddlers can row the Malibu Two kayak by Ocean Kayak in tandem or solo. The single-layer high-density polyethylene (HDPE) hull with skid plates protects against rock beds.

Product highlights:

  • Triple seating arrangement with padding, backrests, and a unique rotating forward seat, all secured to the hull with brass clips and stainless steel clips.
  • Long-lasting fade-free nylon seat fabric with reflective logos.
  • A pair of toggle carry handles installed on fore and aft with center-mounted side handles for easy carrying.
  • Four scupper holes provide self-draining capabilities.
  • Dry storage with straps.
  • Lifetime hull warranty.

$663.99 $829.99

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
-20%
Last update: 12 hours ago

#5. Sevylor Big Basin

41gXgEkeEHL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Category: Best 3 Seat Recreational Kayak
  • Brand: Sevylor
  • Type: Hard Shell Kayak
  • Material: Polyvinyl Chloride
  • Weight: 15.76 kg (34.76 pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 222.26 kg (490 pounds)

The Sevylor Big Basin 3-person inflatable recreational kayak is a groundbreaking testament to Sevylor’s legacy for producing innovative and high-quality kayaks. The Big Basic is the best 3-person recreational kayak, offering unforgettable shared calm and whitewater paddling moments. The indestructible PVC upper deck and rugged tarpaulin hull construction protect the hull from stony riverbeds. Sevylor Big Basin recreational kayak has multiple air chambers to keep it afloat if a puncture occurs.

Product highlights:

  • Available with double-threaded Boston Valve for easy air inflation and deflation.
  • Spray covers to keep paddlers dry.
  • Exterior carry handles for convenient transportation.
  • Multi-position adjustable seats provide comfort.

$351.78 $429.99

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
-18%
Last update: 12 hours ago

#6. Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Kayak

31awSc4IhgL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Category: Best For Fishing Recreational Kayak
  • Brand: Pelican
  • Type: Hard Shell Kayak
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight: 20 kg (44 pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 204 kg (450 pounds)

Explore your neighborhood fishing spots with the Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler, the best recreational fishing kayak. The sit-on-top open cockpit design of the Sentinel 100X Angler provides plenty of room for your essential fishing gear with enough stand-up space to cast your bait. Pack extra supplies from home in the removable EXOPAK storage compartment and insert into its slot in the tank well when it’s time to hit the water.

Sit-on-top kayaks are known for exceptional stability, but Pelican developed a multi-chine flat bottom hull providing additional stability during those moments of energetic fishing action. Transporting the Sentinel 100X Angler is a pinch with molded side handles, and its compact shape allows for easy storage. Experiencing reeling in your biggest catch is always special when fishing in a Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler kayak.

Product highlights:

  • Durable design with high molecular density polyethylene construction.
  • Removable EXOPAK dry storage box with two integrated vertical rod holders and front storage deck with deck cover.
  • There is an embedded center console with molded compartments, paddle clips, rod holders, and accessory bins.
  • Adjustable ERGOLOUNGE seat with thick padding and backseat.
  • Additional in-hull floatation provides extra buoyancy.
  • Drain plug, adjustable footrests, and smartphone holder.

$462.73 $539.99

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
-14%
Last update: 12 hours ago

#7. Ocean Kayak Malibu 11.5 Kayak

- Heart for Outdoor
  • Category: Best Beginners Recreational Kayak
  • Brand: Ocean Kayak
  • Type: Hard Shell Kayak
  • Material: Single Layer Polyethylene
  • Weight: 26.7 kg (59 pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 163.2kg (360 pounds)

Ride the waves in style with the Malibu 11.5 sit-on-top recreational kayak from Ocean Kayak. Designed to offer affordable, fun, and comfortable paddling for beginners and pros, the Malibu 11.5 recreational kayak is universally regarded as the best by a wide margin. It is at home straight-tracking on rivers, lakes, and ocean swells at home, helping new paddlers build the confidence to venture further.

The 10 Best Recreational Kayaks in 2022

Product highlights:

  • Cutting-edge AirGo molded-in seat, pad, and adjustable AirComfort backrest for all-day paddling comfort.
  • Spacious open deck space with molded-in footwells, calf rests, fore and aft toggle handles, molded side handles, and cup holders.
  • The compact and flat design allows stackable storage.
  • QuickStash dry storage and a YakLock locking bar to protect your personal items.

$663.99 $829.99

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
-20%
Last update: 12 hours ago

#8. Old Town Vapor 10

313LwjTogSS. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Category: Best Budget Recreational Kayak
  • Brand: Old Town Canoes and Kayaks
  • Type: Hard Shell Kayak
  • Material: Single Layer Polyethylene
  • Weight: 21.3 kg (47 pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 125 kg (275 pounds)

Unleash the spirit of adventure this summer with the Old Town Vapor 10 recreational kayak. The compact Sit Inside hardshell kayak offers excellent value for pro paddles and beginners looking for the best recreational kayaks under $500. Built from durable, high-quality polyethylene, the Vapor 10 kayak is a versatile watercraft for all water sports, including sports fishing, sea kayaking, recreational paddling, and hauling supplies to remote hunting lodges. The Vapor 10’s spacious cockpit has enough room for taller paddlers to stretch out while providing a comfortable and firm ride.

Product highlights:

  • Single-layer polyethylene hull with bottom skid plate for added protection.
  • The compact and lightweight design allow easy storage.
  • A large cockpit opening provides easy entry and exit to paddlers.
  • Adjustable Comfort Flex seat with thigh pads ensures maximum paddling comfort.
  • Cockpit accessories include molded tray, cup holder, molded paddle rests, and a Glide Track foot brace system.
  • Built-in carry handles, stern dry storage and drain plug.

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Last update: 12 hours ago

#9. Perception Pescador Pilot 12

- Heart for Outdoor
  • Category: Best River Recreational Kayak
  • Brand: Perception Kayaks
  • Type: Hard Shell Kayak
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Weight: 38.5 kg (85 pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 215.4 kg (475 pounds)

Have a blast paddling down your favorite rivers with Perceptions’s Pescador Pilot 12 recreational kayak. Featuring a removable pedal drive system for easier paddling, it offers excellent value and superior performance for beginners and keen paddlers alike. The Pescador pilot has a whopping 475-pound weight capacity and several small-item storage compartments, including fore and aft open storage for fishing tackle and camping gear.

The 10 Best Recreational Kayaks in 2022

The Pescador Pilot 12 recreational kayak offers similar stability levels to larger river riverboats, and a high position mesh captain’s chair provides superior visibility when navigating treacherous waters. The Pescador Pilot 12 is the feet-operated Pilot Drive propeller system, leaving you hands-free to fish, hunt, and take photos.

Product highlights:

  • Convenient rudder control with a full turning circle capability.
  • Removable captain’s chair.
  • Under-seat storage space.
  • Gunwale accessory rails for fishing rods, fish finders, and other gear.

$2,129.00

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Last update: 12 hours ago

#10. Perception Tribe 13.5

31RpGCsJReL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Category: Best Family Recreational Kayak
  • Brand: Perception Kayaks
  • Type: Hard Shell Kayak
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Weight: 35.8 kg (79 pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 226.7 kg (500 pounds)

Experience fun family rides with the Perception Tribe 13.5 recreational tandem kayak. This sit-on-top kayak has seats for two adults and enough space for one or two tiny) kids. The Tribe 13.5 recreational kayak is built from high-quality materials and offers long-lasting durability and performance. The Perception Tribe 13.5 recreational kayak reviews highlight its study and stable ride on the water. Designed for easy storage, the Tribe  13.5 recreational kayak has fold-flat seats for stackable storage and can be placed on your vehicle rack roof for transport.

Product highlights:

  • Center cargo hatch with bag and lid, fore and aft tank well with elastic tie-down cords.
  • Molded knee and thigh areas for paddler’s comfort.
  • Multiple footrest positions.
  • Molded-in bottle holder.
  • Side handles for easy transport with security locks.

$1,036.85

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Last update: 12 hours ago

Recommended reading

The 10 Best Lightweight Kayaks for Beginners in 2022

The 10 Best Lightweight Kayaks for Beginners in 2022

Our 2022 best lightweight kayaks guide for beginners is the best online resource to help you select the best and safest kayak available for you at reasonable prices.

The 9 Best Portable Fish Finders for Kayaks and Canoes in 2022

The 9 Best Portable Fish Finders for Kayaks and Canoes in 2022

Fish finders are one of the most important tools you can have with you on your next kayak or canoe fishing trip. Here are the ones we recommend purchasing, and what to look out for.

5 Best Tents for Kayak Camping in 2022

5 Best Tents for Kayak Camping in 2022

Kayaking is an extremely fun, active, energetic, and exciting outdoor sport or leisure pursuit. And while the tent you are going to use may possibly not be the first thing on your mind, without the...

The 10 Best Fishing Kayaks for Big Guys in 2022

The 10 Best Fishing Kayaks for Big Guys in 2022

This is the ultimate guide highlighting the best fishing kayaks for big guys in 2022. Here, we will help you select the best kayak model based on your weight and budget.

The 10 Best Inflatable Kayaks for Easy Storage in 2022

The 10 Best Inflatable Kayaks for Easy Storage in 2022

ContentsInflatable Kayak CategoriesThings To Consider Before Choosing The Best Inflatable KayakThe Best Inflatable Kayaks Under $500The Best Inflatable Kayaks Under $750The Best Inflatable Kayaks Under $1,000Conclusion Inflatable kayaks are boats made from multiple PVC layers...

The 10 Lightest Sit-on-Top Kayaks in 2022

The 10 Lightest Sit-on-Top Kayaks in 2022

Sit-on-top kayaks provide paddlers of all skill levels and ages with affordable and fun-filled water excursions. Here's the top 10!

The 10 Best Kayak Roof Racks for Cars Without Rails in 2022

The 10 Best Kayak Roof Racks for Cars Without Rails in 2022

Kayak’s irregular shapes make them difficult to strap onto a transport vehicle. The task is easier in vehicles fitted with roof rails that you can secure the kayak to but transporting kayaks in cars without roof rails can be challenging. 

Newsletter

Join others with a heart for the outdoors!

We want you to love the outdoor life as much as we do.
Our email content is full of value, void of hype, tailored to your interests whenever possible, never pushy, and always free.